News

All posts by Shannon Kalahar

Pinellas County Media Alert – Vaccine Appointment Registration Re-Opens Friday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m.

Posted on Jan 28, 2021

MEDIA ALERT

Immediate Release

Jan. 28, 2021

  

Media Contacts 

Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County: 

Maggie Hall, PIO 

Margarita.Hall@FLHealth.gov 

(727) 824-6908 (Media Only) 

Tom Iovino, PIO 

Thomas.Iovino@FLHealth.gov 

(727) 281-5094 (Media Only) 

 

Pinellas receives new shipment of COVID vaccines for 65+ residents

Appointments re-open Friday at 3 p.m.; slots expected to fill quickly

 

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone 65 and older re-open at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29, following a new shipment of 10,000 doses from the State of Florida. Appointments start early next week and are expected to fill quickly.

 

Appointments are mandatory to get the first of two vaccine injections and can be scheduled online through the CDR HealthPro portal starting at 3 p.m., Friday, Jan. 29 at www.PatientPortalFL.com. Residents accessing the portal prior to 3 p.m. on Friday will be able to create an account, but will not be able to book their appointment until the set time of 3 p.m. No appointments will be booked prior to Friday at 3 p.m.

 

Pinellas County Fire paramedic crews are operating the four public vaccination sites for seniors over 65 in coordination with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County.

 

To get a vaccine appointment, residents must first create an account and then select an available time.  Creating an account does not guarantee availability for this round of appointments. There will be no vaccines for residents without appointments, and there is no waiting list.

 

As required by the State of Florida, patients must show proof of Florida residency to receive a vaccine. Examples include: a valid Florida Drivers License, state issued ID, deed, or utility bill with the patient’s name and address. Part-time residents will be asked to provide a part-time rental agreement.

 

Those without internet access or who need assistance with the portal can call (844) 770-8548. The call center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can provide guidance in English and Spanish. Any resident with the ability to access the internet is strongly encouraged to use the online portal, as phone wait times can be lengthy.

 

For the latest information on vaccine appointments and updates, residents can check https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/vaccines, or the Department of Health in Pinellas County Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor.

 

Appointments will be scheduled at sites in various parts of the county. Details about access to the vaccine distribution sites will be given to residents upon appointment confirmation. Appointments for the required second dose can be made at the time of scheduling.

 

Family members must sign up and register individually for appointments.

 

Those arriving ahead of schedule may be turned away and instructed to return at their scheduled time.

 

Racial Justice Essay & Arts Contest

Posted on Jan 05, 2021

The Equal Justice Initiative in partnership with the Pinellas Remembers Community Remembrance Project Coalition is pleased to announce an essay scholarship contest open to 9th – 12th grade students attending public high school in Pinellas County where prizes totaling at least $5000 will be awarded to participants with winning essays. With the support of the Tampa Bay Rays, the coalition is also pleased to announce an art scholarship contest that will encourage visual arts and performing arts submissions from 9th-12th grade students attending public high school in Pinellas County where prizes ranging from $250 – $1500 will be awarded to participants with winning artwork.

Both the essay and art contests require students to examine the history of a topic of racial injustice and to discuss or explore its legacy today. Submissions should explain the chosen topic using a specific historical event(s), explore how the injustice persists, and imagine solutions for a future free from racial injustice. Students are also encouraged to reflect on how the topic impacts their own lives and communities.

Learn more and apply!

 

 

Grow Smarter and Leadership St. Pete Stride Towards Race Equity

Posted on Jan 05, 2021

Grow Smarter is a strategic plan within the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce that aims to reduces gaps by race and place in St. Petersburg, Florida, by introducing equity to economic development efforts. Since its start in 2014, Grow Smarter contributed to increasing St. Petersburg’s median household income by 25% and decreasing the city’s poverty rate by 14%.  

Jocelyn Howard, the Grow Smarter Program Manager, stated that the plan brings to St. Petersburg a “wider focus of economic development that is really more accurate and reflective what it actually means.” Howard attributed the success of Grow Smarter to the dedication of all the people and partners involved as well as increased awareness of the social determinants of health framework going on to say “More than one thing makes a person healthy; more than one thing makes a city healthy.”  

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, Grow Smarter pivoted their response to help areas of the St. Petersburg community where they could make the most impact. This response included transitioning funds to build scholarships for Leadership St. Pete 

Leadership St. Pete (LSP) is a six-month program that provides an intense curriculum, retreats, and receptions that connect participants to leaders in the community and equip them to become leaders themselves in the futureThis year’s seminars include St. Pete History, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Education, St. Pete Culture, Healthcare & Social Services, State Government, Economic Development, Criminal Justice, Local Government, Environmental Sustainability and Leadership Application. LSP participants also complete a class project where they provide planning, fund-raising, and physical labor to execute a facility improvement project for a local nonprofit that has often exceeded a value of $25,000. This year’s project focused on COVID-19 relief for the broader St. Petersburg business community through the Fighting Chance Fund 

Lucinda Grant, the current LSP Chair, graduated from the program in 2000LSP has been a part of Grant’s life for 20 years, and she says it is the best thing she could have done for herself personally and professionally. Although LSP has been around for nearly 50 years, Grant is only the fourth Black leader, and it has been 17 years since the last Black female leaderAs racial injustice continued to perpetuate in the U.S., Grant was motivated to actively create an equitable environment within LSP and ensure that people of color were represented in this year’s class. This shift to a racial equity lens caught the attention of Grow Smarter St. Pete who reached out to Grant offering their support. More than one-fourth of this year’s class was comprised of people of color—the most in LSP history. Grant stated Grow Smarter support was essential in making that happen and spoke on the necessity of representation emphasizing, “When you go places and you see people that look like you, you tend to want to be more involved.”  

Grant is a living reflection of LSP’s enduring impact beyond its six-month duration. The program’s explicit shift towards increased representation is already making great strides towards race equity in Pinellas County. Grow Smarter’s LSP support and their own economic development initiatives—thanks to a holistic perspective and race equity lens—make for promising future of race equity in Pinellas County.  

Resources  

  • Grow Smarter  
    • Sign up for virtual events on the here  
  • Leadership St. Pete  
    • Find out how to join the next LSP class or Planning Committee here.

“We Are Here, and We Care”: Empowering Businesses and the Community Amidst COVID-19

Posted on Jan 05, 2021

The economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to be $16 trillion or roughly 90% of the annual GDP of the U.S. The largest drop in active business owners ever recorded occurred from February-April 2020 with the number plummeting by 22% or 3.3 million. Businesses owned by people of color were especially hit hard. Black-owned businesses experienced a 41% drop in business activity, Latinx-owned businesses experienced a 32% drop, and Asian-owned businesses experienced a 26% drop.   

Although they are hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses owned by people of color are proven to be more optimistic and more likely to offer support to their local community. A recent poll found that 40% of businesses owned by people of color added new services to support their communities and employees, compared with 27% of all respondents. 56% of businesses owners who were people of color also reported they were optimistic about post-COVID-19 economic conditions, compared with 49of all respondents.  

Business Resiliency in St. Petersburg  

St. Peterburg’s Business Resiliency Team (BRT) program empowered local businesses—especially those owned by people of color and women—to enact pandemic-driven change so that they could not only survive but also grow and thrive during and after it. The BRT program was a partnership between Grow Smarterthe St. Pete Economic Development Corporation, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerceand the Greenhouse and focused on creating business stability within 90 days. Over four months, eight Navigators from the BRT program helped more than 200 local businesses by connecting businesses to professional mentorship and training opportunitiesAlongside the BRT Program, the “Give Us Five” program enabled attorneys, accountants, bankers, tech gurus, marketing professionals, business consultants, and professionals from multiple other sectors to volunteer their time, skills, and resources free of charge to St. Petersburg’s business community. Jocelyn Howardthe Grow Smarter Program Manager, highlighted that the BRT program was modeled after Patient Navigation. It aimed to overcome barriers to understanding and was critical to ensuring businesses were made aware of all the already-existing and pandemic-driven resources available to them. Nearly 15% of the businesses helped were Black-owned and over half of them were women-owned.  

The Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL) also enacted pandemic-driven change by adapting to the drastically changing job market and equipping individuals to deal with the evolving workforce and resulting financial instability. Their programs operate through a lens of racial equity and have the overarching goal of reducing inequality in the workforce and reducing racial income gaps. PCUL houses a Career Connection Center that offers workforce development activities and helps job seekers overcome employment barriers, the Serious Business Academy for entrepreneurs and business owners, and the Financial Empowerment Program to address income and earning power. COVID-19 doubled the demand for many PCUL services, but they reacted to the changing market by significantly increasing job placements in the medical field.  

Charlotte Anderson, the PCUL Vice President of Operations, asserted that all staff are motivated and continuously meet the increased demand. She stated“We do what we have to do to make sure we are serving the people because we understand that it could be us on the other side of the table needing that assistance. We feel so blessed that we are available to help people during this pandemic and this time of economic crisis.” In 2020, PCUL was able to provide specialized guidance to nearly 100 small businesses, help over 40 businesses attain funding, and provide over 80 job-seekers assistance through their Career Connection Center. Some participants reported increasing their monthly income by $700 while others reported increasing their savings by $3000. All PCUL services transitioned to virtual environments so that they can still meet community demand in a safe and healthy way. Anderson emphasized, “We want people to know that we are here, and we care.” 

Race Equity through COVID-19 Relief Efforts  

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought and continues to bring devastation to every aspect of life. However, the community strived for resilience by redefining business models and utilizing federal and local aid to survive and grow. Local Organizations—like Grow Smarter and PCUL—proactively pivoted their responses to best meet the needs of the community and meet the increased demand for their services. As businesses, organizations, and individuals continue to showcase the need for and power of a race equity lenspolicymakers can be pushed to implement the systems-level interventions that will propel us to lasting, long-term change.    

Resources  

  • St. Pete Greenhouse  
  • Pinellas County Urban League  
  • One Community St. Petersburg  
    • If you are a small business owner, you can reach out to the One Community team for 1-to-1 help and resource access (by telephone, zoom, or social media).  

Advancing Racial Justice Through Mindfulness

Posted on Dec 18, 2020

Unconscious, implicit racial bias—rather than individual, White supremacist action—plays a role in nearly every stage of a person’s life.  Americans, including people of color themselves, hold a range of unconscious biases against people of color. However, research on mindfulness-based interventions provides grounds for optimism and potential long-term solutions.

Mindfulness Provides Grounds for Optimism

Mindfulness can play a key role in recognizing one’s own biases, how they harm others, and how to work with compassion towards racial justice. Mindfulness involves focusing on being intensely aware of what you are sensing and feeling in the moment. It involves breathing exercises, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and reduce stress. Generally, mindfulness can be practiced by paying attention, living in the moment, accepting yourself, and focusing on breathing.

The unconscious is quite malleable. Just 27 minutes of mindfulness a day can make a difference. A 2011 Harvard study confirmed that a half-hour of daily meditation resulted in positive changes to the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness. Research indicates that mindfulness can reduce implicit bias in individuals, reduce negative outcomes of implicit bias, and sustain these effects over time. The key is to become aware of one’s implicit bias, be concerned about the consequences of bias, and learn to replace the biased response with a non-prejudiced response—a response that is likely more matched to one’s public position of racial equality.

When applied through a racial-equity lens, mindfulness-based interventions can effectively address implicit racial bias, racial inequities, and health inequities. Subtle cues triggered by mindfulness can change brain activity to react to Black faces with less fear and less bias than they previously would have.

In equity workshops, mindfulness promoted empathy, connected participants to their own emotional involvement with prejudice, and helped participants become more self-reflective and self-aware. Educators can incorporate mindfulness to better understand the impact of race, minimize implicit racial bias, improve student performance, and promote racial justice.

In clinical trials, mindfulness has also been effective in treating stress, anxiety, pain, depression, insomnia, and high blood pressure—many of which disproportionally affect people of color. The field of integrative medicine incorporates mindfulness into therapies because of its beneficial impact on brain health and cognitive impairment. One study found that mindfulness helped disadvantaged and minority college students implement lasting, healthy habits. It concluded that mindfulness is a low-cost, accessible way to curb the effect of racial health disparities.

The St. Pete Youth Farm is a youth development program that holistically supports the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs through an urban farm project. The program is offered to high school students residing in South St. Pete’s Community Redevelopment Area. Thus, it primarily impacts young, often socioeconomically disadvantaged, people of color. The students learn everything from agricultural skills to financial literacy. Carla Bristol, the program’s Collaboration Manager, emphasized the importance of developing the “whole child,” saying that “we start dealing with areas in their [personal] life that they need to unpack and do wellness, do yoga, do mental health Mondays.”  The program incorporates mindfulness enabling the youth to reflect on racial injustice, the effect of COVID-19 on their school-life, and their own mental health.

Anyone and Everyone Can Grow Through Mindfulness

As a human, it is impossible to be completely without prejudice or implicit racial bias. But the potential of mindfulness is immense and can help us address the negative outcomes of such biases. Mindfulness creates a judgment-free space for the self-compassion necessary to face the painful thoughts and feelings that arise when confronting implicit racial bias both within ourselves and others.

Any individual can practice free, simple, and brief mindfulness exercises from the comfort of their home or office. Mindfulness-based interventions can be feasibly incorporated into equity training, leadership training, classroom settings, and any other diverse, conflict-laden setting or scenario. As opposed to seeing themselves as racist or not, people and institutions must begin by seeing themselves as capable of growth.

Resources

Project Implicit

  • Harvard University offers a virtual laboratory for educating the public about hidden biases. You can test your own bias here.

Mayo Clinic

  • The Mayo Clinic offers an overview of free, simple, and short mindfulness exercises you can do from anywhere.

ColorInsight Practices

  • Law professor, mindfulness teacher, and social justice advocate Rhonda Magee provides a set of ColorInsight Practices that provide guidelines and exercises for teaching and learning about race primarily in classrooms and in any setting where racial issues may arise.

Courageous Conversations

  • Through a Framework for Systemic Racial Equity Transformation, Courageous Conversations help individuals and organizations address persistent racial disparities intentionally, explicitly, and comprehensively.

Affiliate Group Gains Understanding of Personal Judgements, Perceptions and Biases

Posted on Dec 18, 2020

When it comes to race and racism, the learning curves and needs of white people and Black people are very different. Many white people seek to understand—and perhaps confront for the first time– the history and current manifestations of white supremacy and racism in America. It seems entirely reasonable that this learning takes place with those who need it most—a group of committed white people. Historically, Affinity Spaces create a safe place for people of the same race to come together to learn about racism, anti-racism, racial equity, social justice, and the consequences of their racial identity within the context of white supremacist culture and history.

“White Women for Racial Justice in Pinellas County” launched in 2020 following an exploratory conversation about the role of white women in an anti-racism movement between St. Petersburg City Council member Amy Foster and Julie Rocco, Senior Community Engagement Advocate for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg. Approximately 50 women committed to a 7-session series on white fragility, history of racism between black and white women, performative activism, power-politics-policy and race, and how to activate as a Black ally.

Black mentors served as learning partners to develop the curriculum for each session and provided additional resources. Smaller breakout groups allowed participants to reflect on their personal journeys and individual opportunities for growth.

In many instances, participants may wish to spare their Black colleagues, friends, or acquaintances the burden of responsibility for educating white people about the racism they experience daily. Participant Caryn Nesmith believes,An affinity group creates the space for White people to deeply reflect on their own whiteness and the harm that the dominant White culture has inflicted, which is imperative for us to be effective allies. But this type of self-reflection can be messy and vulnerable; Black and brown people should not have to take on the burden of our growth and understanding of racial history, trauma, and injustices.  It is our work to own and do.”

White Women for Racial Justice have applied the Courageous Conversations protocol to navigate uncomfortable and challenging topics. One tool, the Courageous Conversations Compass, identifies four primary ways that people deal with racial information, events, and issues: feeling, thinking, believing, and doing. This mindfulness exercise encourages participants to center themselves in all four methodologies before engaging. For example, in discussion, a comment may cause a strong emotion (feeling), and learning to process those feelings, thoughts, and ideas can help propel the individual towards appropriate actions. Connecting with others through all four segments can yield increased empathy and understanding.

For the final session, Black Male Mentors led a panel discussion about topics including:

  • fears and biases of white women towards Black men
  • interracial marriage, and fathering biracial children
  • The experience of being the only Black male in the room
  • Generational differences in St. Petersburg for Black men living in Pinellas

Affiliate groups can inform and educate and build individual capacity for conversations about race and deepen understanding of the systemic drivers of racial inequities. They can be helpful to better understand one’s own judgments, perceptions, and biases.

As the year comes to a close, the White Women for Racial Justice participants will translate their knowledge into activism and advocacy work toward systemic change.

Addressing Racial Inequities Through Medical-Legal Partnerships  

Posted on Dec 04, 2020

In the U.S., 25% of all renters are severely rent-burdened. In Florida, that percentage is 21%. But when we look at the data by census tract in Pinellas Countythere are several communities—mostly comprised of people of colorthat are up to 91.5% severely rent-burdened. People of color in these communities disproportionately spend at least 30% of their income on rent and most spend over 50%Upscale development, rent spikes, and stagnant wages continue to cause barriers for equitable growth in Pinellas County

Beyond shelter, housing problems disproportionately affect people of color when it comes to their ability to pay for basic expenses, save for emergencies, and make long-term investments in the community. When a family experiences an eviction, the repercussions can be generational and often reverberate into other areas of lifeDisplacement from a stable home disrupts the social fabric of a community and can disconnect people from social, educational, and occupational resources. And when families can stay in their home, build social networks, and invest in their neighborhood, the community can thrive. 

Home ownership is also one of the major ways to build wealth across generations, but home ownership rates for Black (35%) and Latinx (41%) households in Pinellas are well below the county average (64%)Housing problems disproportionately negatively affect people of color in multifaceted ways. For that reason, solutions that are holistic and multifaceted themselves are essential steps towards achieving race equity.  

Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) programs intersect medical and legal interventions to address the root causes of patients’ problemsmany of which perpetuate racial inequities and health inequities. Doctors and lawyers are cross trained to mobilize medical and legal resources to address problems more effectively like housing, eviction, and civil justice that can compromise health. A patient’s asthma might be because of their home’s mold and pest infestation. A patient’s declining health might be because of eviction notices or income instability. Any legal issue can be intimating and act as a stressor triggering new and existing medical issues and inequities.   

Through MLPs, doctors treat patients’ problems not just as medical in nature but as potential legal issues that might negatively affect their health now or in the futureIn turn, lawyers are provided with medical evidence and guidance to substantiate legal claims and seek appropriate remedies for conditions at odds with both legal rights and health. 

2016 study by Columbia University found that MLP programs provided a comprehensive approach that effectively addressed widespread health disparities rooted in problematic housing. Participants described having a doctor-lawyer team as giving them an “extra oomph” and that it “kind [of] gives you the edge up on what to look for and how to go about it.” In most cases, participants were able to conveniently access lawyers through their healthcare providers and subsequently received legal services that prevented eviction, appealed increases in rent, and secured housing subsidies. 83% of the participants who benefited from the MLP program were people of color. The study noted that MLPs enabled a “shift in legal consciousness for those at the intersection of inequality—race, gender, and socioeconomic status” in which people learned, legitimized, and leveraged the law. MLPs thus have the potential to be more than a short-term, temporary solution to race inequities and health inequities, especially those related to housing.  

Lisa Brody—an attorney at Bay Area Legalhas been advocating for and implementing MLPs for the past 10 years. She iterated that MLPs holistic approaches are essential to enable equitable outcomes for marginalized populations and people of colorBrody stated, “the trickle-down effect of families losing housing is so detrimental that we want to do anything we can to not allow that to happen.” Brody also emphasized the critical role of full commitments from all partners in MLP saying that everyone who encounters the patient—doctors, nurses, receptionists—must be just as motivated as the legal partner. 

Addressing housing problems through MLPs not only improves population health and access to their legal options but achieves outcomes towards health equity—especially race equity. As COVID-19 exacerbates Florida’s housing crisis and people of color are disproportionately affected, MLPs provide a unique opportunity to address housing problems through a social determinants of health framework. Root causes of racial and health inequity can be effectively addressed and lead to lasting, long-term change.  

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Community Health Centers of Pinellas, Inc.

  • If you are an established patient with housing problems and other Civil-Legal needs, the Medical Legal Partnership Program at Community Health Centers of Pinellas, Inc. can assist you for free in a familiar and accessible setting. To schedule an appointment, call 727-824-8181.    

Pinellas Eviction Diversion Program  

  • If you are struggling to pay rent, the Pinellas Eviction Diversion Program offers several free legal services to tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and their landlords. This program provides repayment of overdue rent, free legal help, virtual mediation, and help locating a new place to live if unable to stay in your current residence. To apply for help, please call (727) 582-7475.   

Homeless Leadership Alliance  


Written by: Mala Coomar, Research Analyst Intern at the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg

 

Should My Child go to School Today? Best Practices During COVID-19 

Posted on Oct 15, 2020

The decision to reopen schools came after months of deliberation and careful preparation between the FL Department of Health and district officials who mandated doors could only open after county-wide infection rates decreased.

In late July and early August, families were given the option of virtual learning, or returning to physical schools. Despite the pandemic, continuing education is crucial so students can advance to the next level. For some, sending children back to school enabled access to essential services, including nutrition. Reopening school doors also ensured parents could return to work. 

In Pinellas County, teachers and students follow CDC guidance, implementing precautions such as mandatory mask requirementsupdated cafeteria guidelines, and cleaning protocols. In addition, Pinellas County visitors and employees must complete a self-screening tool confirming their wellness each day prior to entering any school building. Parents are encouraged to do the same for their children. 

CDC precautions greatly minimize risk, but do not absolve it entirely. Nearly 700 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Tampa Bay schools since the beginning of the school year.  

Children under age 18 represent 8.5% of all national cases, with relatively few deaths compared to other age groups. Although the disease generally presents as mild in children, critical illness has occurred, and risk is exacerbated for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Those exposed to the virus can act as a carrier, spreading COVID-19 to others. According to Dr. Allison Messina, chair of the division of Infectious Disease with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospitalpediatric transmission to other students is a lot lower than transmission to teachers and staff, as 50% of children are asymptomatic carriers. 

The time between exposure to COVID-19 and when symptoms appear is generally 5 to 6 days, but ranges from 1 day to two weeks.

It is essential that families, teachers, administrators, and the community at large unite in following best practices. Engagement or disengagement will be reflected in how widespread, or contained, the virus will be in schools.  

Students who have been tested for COVID-19 with pending test results should remain quarantined, as should the other members of the household, until a negative result is received. 

“In order to keep the infection rates at a minimum, please adhere to the recommended guidelines. It takes a village. Contact the Department of Health if in doubt,” shares Delquanda Turner-Smith of the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.  

RECOMMENDED GUIDELINES 

  • Wear a mask. Review special precautions about masks for children under age 5.  
  • Maintain social distancing to avoid unnecessary exposure. Exposure is defined as being in proximity of 6’ or closer, for 15 minutes or longer; a guideline set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stay home if you feel ill, experience a fever above 100.4 degrees, live with someone who has COVID-19, or are waiting for the results of your COVID test.  
  • Teach and model good hygiene practices for your children: 
  • Wash your hands with soap and safe water frequently, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  
  • Always wash hands with soap and water, if hands are visibly dirty. 
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow and avoid touching your face, eyes, mouth and nose. 
  • Coordinate with the school to receive information and ask how you can support school safety efforts. 
  • Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings with you and their teachers. Remember that your child may have different reactions to stress; be patient and understanding. 
  • When in doubt about whether your student, or members of a household should come to school, review the Coronavirus Decision Tree provided by the Florida Department of Education. 

  

Q&A with Chief Equity Officer, Carl R. Lavender, Jr.

Posted on Jul 01, 2020

Carl R. Lavender, Jr. has been appointed to the newly created leadership role of Chief Equity Officer, focused on applying a race equity lens to all the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg’s work and policy positions. He shares insights about his vision and responsibilities of the new role, below.


Read More

‘Equity Amid Crisis’ day two: The way forward

Posted on Jun 06, 2020

Time is ticking.

That was a key takeaway from the second day of a virtual workshop centered around equity, inclusion and diversity hosted by Inclusivity LLC. The conference looked at systemic issues, such as health disparities that became more noticeable amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and racial injustice that rose to the forefront after the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

After the initial discussion Thursday about data and gaps in equity in the St. Petersburg area, panelists from corporations, nonprofits and civic groups regrouped on Friday to talk about how to move forward.

Read More at the St. Pete Catalyst

George Floyd protests: How you can support Tampa Bay’s black community from home

Posted on Jun 05, 2020

You’ve read articles and watched videos of protests erupting across the country after the death of George Floyd. Maybe you’ve been out on the streets marching for days. Maybe you’re staying inside due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you are hashtagging on social media, you need to also go out and do something as well that will change the conversation,” said Hillary Van Dyke, co-founder of black business directory Green Book of Tampa Bay. “Because we keep coming back to this every few years.”

Read More at Tampa Bay Times

UNITE Pinellas on tracking COVID-19 in the black community

Posted on Jun 04, 2020

The “Equity Now” broadcast on WTMP reviews events through a lens of racial and health equity. Hosted by Carl Lavender, chief equity officer at Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg (FHSP), the program features conversations with local health experts, civic and political leaders, community activists, and stakeholders.

On May 30, Lavender was joined by Dr. Stephanie Reed, MPH and Tim Dutton, executive director of UNITE Pinellas.

Read More at The Weekly Challenger

During COVID-19, St. Pete Timebank offers new ways to consider community economies

Posted on Jun 04, 2020

COVID-19 has triggered a breakdown of the U.S. and world economy within three months. In rebuilding our economy, individuals, communities, and groups might want to consider developing alternate ways to receive and offer goods and services.

The idea of communities and individuals sharing and swapping services and goods without using money is indeed as old as time. Here in St. Pete, one group has already come together to establish a new social exchange system.

Read More at The Weekly Challenger